Amazing Kids! Magazine

Smile in Heaven

By Liu Wansu, age 16, China


I opened the book, and out slipped the photograph; and I saw Papa’s familiar face immediately.

That was my papa with his wide forehead, penetrating eyes, and an amused expression.

He stared at me kindly from the picture with the blue sky as background, and I stared back.

For a moment, I seemed to have forgotten that Papa had passed away for a while— quite a while.

Papa in this picture was young and full of energy, just the Papa in my memory. Papa never changed.

Tears filled my eyes, and something heavy and wet fell and fell from my throat, straight to the bottom of my broken heart.

I turned over the picture to stop this pain, and the moment I saw the back, my tears paused. It was a word “Smile” in large and bold letters written on the back.

Papa told me to smile.

I dried my face and forced a smile as Papa had said.

I looked up, and some sunshine flooded through the window towards my face, which made the sight a fancy rainbow color as I looked through the tears. Papa told me to smile.

The next day I carefully tucked Papa’s picture into the upper pocket of the uniform when I went to school. I could feel Papa with me wherever I went, and that gave me courage.

I hated school all my life. I hated all the rules I had to obey and the presentations I had to give. I never enjoyed public speaking; or rather, I was afraid of it.

It was my turn to give a report once again. My heart was pounding already as I thought of it. I would walk to the front with trembling knees and then speak awkwardly in my shaking voice, like I usually did.

I felt something in my pocket suddenly. Papa! I remembered that picture. It gave me a rare peaceful feeling at school. My heartbeat slowed.

I took Papa’s picture out and saw Papa’s smiling face again. Tears wetted my eyes a little. I turned it over to see that “Smile,” and it was there. It was there with “Be Brave” under it, still in large and bold cursive letters. I gasped. Papa?

Maybe Papa was looking upon me from above always. Papa saw everything of me and knew every thought of mine.

I looked out of the window and winked at the sky where Papa was supposed to be, just the way he used to wink at me whenever he saw me in a big crowd of kids.

The report finally came. I breathed and rose from my seat. My knees didn’t tremble; instead, they were stiff, which was victory for me, though.

I remembered to smile as Papa had said, and it made things better. I was actually not as fearful as I used to be. I was brave.

I finished and bowed. Kids all clapped, and so did the teacher. She smiled at me encouragingly.

School was not that bad after all, I thought.

I immediately took out Papa’s picture the moment I returned to my seat, eager to know what Papa would say.

“Hold On” was under the “Brave.”

I turned it over again to see Papa’s face. But it was gone.

Papa had melted into the background of blue sky.

I looked out of the classroom window at the sky again. Papa was there, looking upon me from above every single moment, with a smile and his amused look.